Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Peak Thirty-Eight Fifty, Canyon Creek

Looking northeast from Valpa Pass. Pk. 3850 is the high point on the skyline near the left edge of photo. 
Pt. 2975, "Ray Creek Peak", on the shoulder of Pk. 3850+
          Through the umbilicus of Valpa Pass, into the maw of Canyon Creek went Mind riding.  Words shed their outlines in hot breezy sunshine until their meanings had vaporized and rendered translucent. The broad mile-wide canyon stretched northwest from the mountains opening out in the direction of the sea, the villages of Brevig and Teller, and the entire sweep of the Land Bridge coming across from Siberia, with massive energy bursts of CHI streaming from the northwest polar regions getting caught up in the mountainous catchment funnel of Canyon Creek where I hiked, entering the massive proscenium of the sunny canyon floor like a duchess entering a promenade, mind trains flowing behind me born aloft on great streams of mental wind.
Map of Pk. 3850+ expedition route, June 17 - 20. This route offered the most direct approach to  the Pk. 3850+, but the pass between Blume and Valpa creeks is rather high. Feather River and Johnstone Creeks also offer hiking passes into Canyon Creek from the Teller Road. All three of these passes are Class III on the north side. 
      A lovely little falls and schist pool poured out the bottom of Valpa Creek. Hadrosaurs grazed to the side in the willows on the floor of Canyon Creek as I began the crossing to the other side of the canyon. Trailing long trains of royal befuddlement, I began the promenade across the canyon, while every eye in that fifty square miles of mountain wilderness watched my every move, though I  saw none of their life forms moving now, save the relentless, peripatetic  fury of my own good dog, who had chased away the Hadrosaurs. Warm June breezes blew the bugs away, a man could have been naked in the summer in Alaska. Turrets of limestone and granite lined the ridge tops. Great power, though, as I've said, words are useless, and it's just a ceaselessly barking dog to be blogging about the wordless.
Looking south up Valpa Creek from Canyon Creek. 
Looking east up Canyon Creek to the beauteous Pk. 3300 (link).
        Suddenly, from the other side of a small hill, came the frenzied barking of my good dog. There was a certain tone to her barking, something urgent, something dire, something impending. She was coming back my way, barking, barking in full panic. I fully expected the little dog to come around the corner at any moment pursued by a herd of vicious Troodon, little chicken-sized, pack-hunting carnivores from the Maastrichtian Age.
           Like Jed Clampett, like Terminator, like Elmer Fudd, or Steven Segal in Valdez,  I rammed the action on the 12-gauge, and flicked the safety gadget thingy quickly to red, and FIRED that big cannon until the walls of Canyon Creek were resounding with thunder and my body was shaking with the hippy terror of it all, and then realized I had left the piece of protective duct tape over the damn barrel of the gun and was lucky I hadn't blown myself to pieces.
         Lucy came around the corner, sheepishly: she had gotten temporarily lost in the wilderness and had been yelling for Daddy. Guess I might have been a little on edge, totally SOLO in the deep psychological water of Canyon Creek, with all those.
Looking up Ray Creek
       Holy mountain, form of forms, sacred Thirty-eight Fifty, this is why I have come, to kneel at your feet and die before your beauty, then ascend to the tippy-top of your tippy top. You peek up and over the foreground tops of the western Kiggy Kigs, hiding in the back there, trying to blend in to the lower mountains as if you were part of them, but all the while that one strip of deeper blue on the top layer is actually you, oh Ray Creek Mountain, oh unnamed massif, looking over the tops of the other, lesser mountains, oh most high and almighty peak of all the Canyon Creek peaks, Peak 3850+, cousin to the great Singtook 3870. For a moment of intimacy have I toiled far from the civilizations of the Teller Road, over the high saddle from Blume to Valpa, and across the sun-filled breezes of Canyon Creek, to tick you off my ego list, and soak up CHI from your rock pores.
Looking southwest at Pk. 3870, the "Grand Singtook", from the summit of Pk. 3850+. Thirty-Eight Seventy and Thirty-Eight Fifty are big siblings at the west end of the Kigs.
Looking north from Pk. 3850+

East summit of Pk. 3850+, one of the humps on the "three-humped camel." The usual Kigluaik fearsome drop-off to the north, gentle slopes to the south. 
         White man, when presented with a mountain wall, will often ascend to the apex or highest altitude, where the wind itself might just as easily have slipped around to either side of the mountain, and so ascended I. Nice few thousand feet up easy Class 2 on the surface of bosom-like slope to the left of the cleavage of Ray Creek, rimmed by the granite tors of sub-Peak 2975, glimpses of some of the finest-looking rock in the range to judge by looking at it, though I lamely never walked over there, but at least the mystery was finally solved: Peak 2970 is the smallish chunk of granite visible  from various points of the range, about which various theories of mine over the years had now finally pinpointed it, here, right below me, high on the shoulder of Pk. 3850+.
A look into mysterious Fall Creek
Tors above Fall Creek, looking north
      Pk. 3850, a three-humped camel hoisted onto a broad-backed summit plateau jacked up higher than any other summit in the Western Kigs save its own analogue a short distance to the southwest, the celebrated Singtook, Pk. 3870. Tremendous view from the summit of Pk. 3850, north out over the sitting-duck graphite piles waiting to be exploited by outside agents from Canada, to the Imruq Basin and the Continental Divide beyond, and how fortunate that various self-judgmental juries of mental agencies had gathered together in kigsblog to place a "Mandatory North Side Mandate" on me which had required me to walk for three days straight, the preceding ten hours of hiking in one huge swath of effort for which I now stood, committed, in the middle of, at the top of the climb, the middle of the trip, with this stop-time view, on one of the most hot and sunny June days of all time.
Looking east along the spine of the Kigs from Pk. 3850+
Another look at Pt. 2975 at the head of Ray Creek
      Hours of incessant, ceaseless hiking wore on into the light of the night as dog and I reversed the hike to return to the forgotten yellow tent waiting back in the alternative universe from which we had originated on the south side of the range, my camp just below the high crest of Valpa Pass back in Blume Creek,  the huge uphill slog over Valpa still awaiting, though mental construction fields were destabilizing, and Sarah Hanson-Hofstetter's new tune was mercilessly lodged in my hippocampus resisting all attempts at the Blind Faith override for when a tune gets too stuck in my head after many hours of suffer-slogging.
This obelisk at the summit of Pk. 3850+ was knocked over when I found it, but had obviously been put there by someone, so I re-erected it. Thought I smelled the scent of Amato on it.
Selfie of me and Lucy on the summit of Pk. 3850+, June 18, 2015
lord almighty god the crankloon generals in my head marching to bippety-bobbety bass lines burning with nausea born of digesting muscle tissue, "Are you hungry?" over and over Sarah make it stop it's been so many hours hiking across the mountains, across the canyon, up the mountain, in this weird velvety buzz field of solstice midnight blue light, back across the canyon, back across the mountains, hippocampus para-temporal lobe feedback loop throbbing with endless tune-loop not even Sea of Joy can displace, folds in the tundra hillside like cerebral tissue where dog waited for long rests
Camp at the very top of Blume Creek, looking south to the Norton Sound. The strategy of camping on the south side of the crest, and then hiking for a big, giant, long day without a big pack to get to a north side objective, proved to be a viable one for a long June day.
 Sad to leave the reverso world of the North Side Kigs. Even now my awareness, firmly stuck in the city and the GLUE OF TOWN, longs to be back in the electro-magnetic wash of Canyon Creek, the purplish fuzz of the cool-down hour at June Solstice time when the mist drops and the roar of water hushes, my paleo-wolf and I scanning the landscape for Troodon.